Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Motu remains an unsafe corner of Orissa

By Deba Prasad Dash
Malkangiri (Orissa), April 15: Though Naveen Patnaik Government since long had promised to build a bridge with an estimated cost of about Rs 15 crore over river Saveri in Motu area of this backward district to provide better communication facility to the people of Malkangiri, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, particularly the security forces to have effective patrolling across the border to curb the naxal menace, but could not fulfill the promise till date.

The government's shortcoming has come as a boon for the Maoists, who have turned this bordering area into their home since long. Situated some 100 km from the district

Saveri river without a bridge at Motu

headquarter town of Malkangiri on the banks of river Saveri bordering Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Motu still remains underdeveloped despite the tall claims of the state government to have undertaken welfare works here.

Had the state government been sincere in its approach to tackle the naxal menace, the Motu bridge could have been built much earlier, said a local leader of Motu.

Tender for this bridge worth crores of rupees had been made several times in the past, but to no use.

No agency, however, reportedly wanted to execute the work because of the naxal threat.

Despite the naxal threat the district police administration will give adequate security to the agency to be entrusted the bridge work by the state government for the smooth execution of the work, Superintendent Police Satish Kumar Gajbhiye said.

The anti-naxal operation across the border will be further strengthened with the joint operation by the police of the Orissa and Chhattisgarh, he added.

Expressing their displeasure over the state government's apathy towards Motu region, several locals blamed the government for the situation and told this reporter that the state government is not serious enough about the Maoist threat.

Moreover, communication infrastructure still eludes the area. And this has forced many government employees posted here prefer to stay in the district headquarter town or go on leave and later take transfer citing inadequate facilities like communication, accommodation facility, drinking water and electricity, apart from the Maoist threat.

“If Orissa government does not care for our problem, we would be left with no option but to merge with Chhattisgarh,” remarked a villager of Motu.

It is because of the geographical location, that the people at Motu do not feel safe even during the day time, thanks to the government's negligence.

It is still a punishment to work in Motu, admitted a Government official at Motu. While the area has been neglected by the successive governments, the people just on the other side of the river ‘Saveri' (Chhattisgarh) have been provided with better communication infrastructure by the Chhattisgarh government there, he said.

The prevailing scenario in Motu is the outcome of the negligence of the successive state governments towards Motu, remarked a Government official at Malkangiri.

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